New Delhi, Oct. 16: The government-owned Rs 500-crore India Brand Equity Fund will soon be managed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the country’s most influential industry chamber.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect will be signed shortly between the ministry of commerce and CII. The ministry will hand over management of the fund to the CII, which will provide the CEO and the secretariat for the trust. The fund is basically used to promote India as a whole, as well as specific production sectors, in the international market.
Indian exports have touched a low and are growing at a slow pace. Government officials realise that India has been only promoting exports of commodity products, not branded items. Promotion of branded products abroad will earn recognition and acknowledgement for Indian companies. It is, however, unfortunate that Indian companies have so far only received funds worth Rs 16.23 crore from a huge corpus of Rs 500 crore.
The fund, which was set up in 1996, also supports particular brands, which have achieved international quality and performance standards. The fund helps in creating domestic awareness-generation programmes directed at quality and business ethics.
The government had made a one-time budgetary support of Rs 50 crore in 1996-97. When the corpus was established, it had been decided that industry would raise another Rs 500 crore, besides taking over and managing the Fund. It is in accordance with that commitment that the Fund is now being handed over to CII.
CII deputy director general Ajay Khanna will reportedly manage the fund. Khanna, currently abroad, was not available for comment.
A total of 11 proposals have already been approved by the commerce ministry and letters of intent have been issued to these companies. Soft loans worth Rs 16.23 crore have been disbursed to five companies for promoting their individual brands in the overseas market.
The companies which have been disbursed loans include K.G Denim Ltd, which received Rs 1.48 crore, HMT International (Rs 1 crore), International Creative Foods (Rs 6 crore), Clutch Auto Ltd (Rs 3.5 crore) and Vishuddha Rasayanee Pvt (Rs 4.25 crore).
The other companies whose loans have been sanctioned, but not yet disbursed, include Duncan Industries, which has been promised a mere Rs 1.25 crore from the Rs 9.25 crore it had actually requested. The Department of Chemicals, along with Ficci, has been sanctioned a loan worth Rs 7.45 lakh of the Rs 20 lakh it had requested.
Similarly, Eastman Industries, Airshrink Ltd, Satnam Overseas and L.T. Overseas are other companies that have received partial sanction of their funds from the actual amount requested.
P. Joy Oomen, member secretary and CFO, Central Silk Board, ministry of textiles, said, “We will soon apply for funds in order to promote Vanya, a new wild silks brand that we intend to export to Japan and the US.”